The first post of 2009…

To those of you who Look, See and Tell The Truth...Thank You.

Regardless of what your "job" is, if you are personally or professionally involved in the work of:

* building and supporting healthy, sustainable communities and organizations
* removing barriers to diversity
* challenging assumptions
* health, wellness, spirituality, awareness
* breaking stereotypes
* speaking the truth
* rejecting status quo
* power with vs. power over
* peace
* positive social change
* diffusion of power
* healthy relationships
* authentic collaboration
* shared inquiry vs. self-advocacy
* conflict mediation
* stopping violence
* education

…I want to say thank you!

And I hope that 2009 is for you (and for us) a wonderful year. If there is anything that I can do to support your work, please let me know.

In my honest opinion...these efforts connect us to a deep, rich body of work that also includes all the true poets, saints, revolutionaries and warriors. This work is aspirational and activist and it requires from us a belief in each other, a belief in a better tomorrow, as well as infinite hope and finite disappointment (from Martin Luther King).

This work calls us to look, to see and to tell the truth. It calls us to have our eyes on the prize of our shared aspirations, and our feet firmly planted in the reality of today. It can be hard to do both. A big part of what makes this work difficult and at times painful is that there can be a great distance between where we currently are and where we want to be. There can be a large and painful gap between our aspirations and where we currently stand…as a society, as communities, organizations and as individuals. The poet, sage and author Nikki Giovanni has said in writing about America, “we have dreamed higher dreams than any nation”, and I could not agree more.

Our aspirations and ideals, what we hope to be…these things are important. But so is the sometimes frustrating and confusing reality of where we currently are. It is of real significance that we talk about the importance of things like equality, inclusion, justice and access. Those aspirations alone do not let us off the hook and we have to continue to look at the reality of disparities and bias in our systems, processes and institutions. And then we have to act.

That gap between who we claim to be and who we really are is sometimes great, and many around us choose to deny that this gap even exists. It is easier and safer to deny the gap, or ignore the gap. Acknowledging it comes with responsibility and uncertainty. We have chosen responsibility and uncertainty, we have chosen to look, to see and to tell the truth. We have chosen to live in that gap and to not let it be rationalized, justified or explained away.

Here is to you and to our continued work in moving the freak flag forward in 2009.

Views: 72

Comment by Jim Canto on January 2, 2009 at 12:06pm
Joe.. thank YOU. You just helped me clarify my goal for '09. Your last paragraph struck home with me. I do not deny the gap. I'm confidently honest about such things. However, now I understand part of my mission for '09... to narrow that gap. So.. thank you for your clarity. - Jim
Comment by rebecca boschert on January 2, 2009 at 6:10pm
It's a call to action! It makes me question how I can be not just better but exemplary and truly make an impact on my profession, the people that I touch daily and in turn, my own success! Thank you!
Comment by Marianne Murphy Orland on January 2, 2009 at 8:03pm
I found this really inspiring, Joe. I've just ended a wonderful engagement with a bunch of great HR people who had a very bad impression of the third party recruiting industry when I arrived there a year and a half ago. I'd like to think I dispelled some of their misconceptions/misgivings (it was my first corporate gig after 20 years in search), but I think I'll forward the text of your message to reinforce the reality that there are recruiters who take their 'calling' seriously and have aspirations that reach higher than the next fee. Thank you for sharing this eloquent message.

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